Google rolls out passkeys to all accountholders

Passkeys - Passkey on keyboard

This represents the first very largescale step in the transition toward using this password alternative.

Google has announced a major step forward in the transition away from passwords by letting its personal accountholders log in using passkeys instead.

The feature recently launched to all Google accounts, letting users turn the feature on if they want to.

Billions of accounts now have the passkeys option available to users who actively seek out the feature and turn it on. According to Google, it plans to promote the password alternative in coming months. At that time, it will encourage users to start converting their existing usernames and passwords. For the moment, the feature is being rolled out without a large amount of fanfare.

Passkeys - Passwords - hand on keyboard

Password-based authentication has long been the security standard in computing overall as well as throughout the internet. However, there are substantial security issues associated with this system. Mainly, it is because attackers can either steal passwords or trick users into handing them over through various forms of scams and hacking.

Passkeys are specifically designed to address widespread problems associated with phishing attacks.

The issue with phishing is overcome because the password alternative leans on an entirely different model that uses cryptographic keys stored on devices for authenticating accounts.

The FIDO alliance industry association has been promoting the rollout of this authentication option for a year, and during that time, some of the largest consumer operating systems in the world – such as Google, Apple and Microsoft – have worked to launch the infrastructure necessary to support the technology.

That said, even as these giants have made passkeys a priority, many consumers haven’t even heard the term before, let alone know what it is. Therefore, now that the feature is rolling out, the next big hurdle for services will be to start offering them as a login option for various user accounts. Some companies, such as PayPal, Shopify, Kayak, Hyatt and CVS Health have already done so. However, the rollout from Google is by far the largest adoption the technology has ever seen, simply because of the sheer volume of accounts the company maintains.

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